Foods, diet tips, lifestyle hacks to beat the heat: 29 ways to stay cool in this sweltering summer and heatwaves | Health - Hindustan Times

Foods, diet tips, lifestyle hacks to beat the heat: 29 ways to stay cool in this sweltering summer and heatwaves

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
May 29, 2024 01:08 PM IST

Lifestyle hacks, summer foods and diet tips to beat the heat, avoid dehydration or heat stroke and help you cool down amid the heatwaves

As we are in the peak of summer and the temperatures are soaring to higher levels with sometimes a high degree of humidity and heatwave, know tips to avoid dehydration or heat stroke. Everyone loves a bright sunny day and warm weather but even those who wait eagerly to welcome summers would agree that health seem fine till the time you have to stay indoors while heatwaves can be quite miserable.

Foods, diet tips, lifestyle hacks to beat the heat: 29 ways to stay cool in this sweltering summer and heatwaves (Image by lookstudio on Freepik)
Foods, diet tips, lifestyle hacks to beat the heat: 29 ways to stay cool in this sweltering summer and heatwaves (Image by lookstudio on Freepik)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Koulsoum Houssein, Full Time Consultant - General Medicine at Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai's Bandra, suggested a few tips to avoid dehydration or heat stroke -

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  1. Drink sufficient water to stay hydrated: min 1.5 litre (unless any medical contra-indication). However, do not drink too much either as having more than 3 litres a day would dilute the blood and cause hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood).
  2. Do not forget to have a little salt and Potassium in the diet to maintain a normal Electrolyte balance and avoid cramps.
  3. Avoid sweet drinks like juices, soft drinks, sodas as sugar causes diuresis and would worsen dehydration.
  4. Tea, coffee, alcohols, beers also increase diuresis and should not be used as hydrating agents. Have room temperature drinks as refrigerated or icy cold drinks or food would cause drastic changes of temperature and promote colds, cough, sore throat, viral fevers.
  5. For the same above reasons, avoid very cold air condition. The changes in temperature should not be sudden and extreme.
  6. Try to stay indoors when the temperature is highest. Step out in the early morning hours or evenings when the temperature is cooler.
  7. Cover the head with a cap or a cotton scarf or carry an umbrella to avoid direct sunlight on the head.
  8. If suffering from a heat stroke, immediately rest in a cool place and hydrate.
  9. If major heat stroke or dehydration, severe headache following prolonged exposure in the sun or high temperatures, immediate hospitalisation for IV hydration.

Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Vishakha Shivdasni, Physician practicing disease reversal and longevity, revealed that the ill effects of soaring temperatures have been worse this year than ever and that every summer, the number of patients that come with migraines, heat strokes and heat exhaustion increase multifold. Since the heat results in dehydration and loss of electrolytes that can lead to muscle cramps, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea and migraines, she recommended tips to beat the heat this summer -

  1. Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Pro tip - use the colour of your urine to gauge hydration. If it’s pale yellow or white, it means you are well hydrated. Anything darker and chances are you are already dehydrated and your need more fluid.
  2. Cellular rehydration: Dehydration is more than just feeling thirsty. When you sweat, you lose not only water, but also electrolytes. These are minerals that help muscles and nerves function. Simply drinking water replenishes fluids, but it might not be enough to restore those electrolytes. Add 1 pinch of organic salt to your water. It can be rock salt, pink salt, Celtic salt etc,not just plain iodised salt to replenish electrolytes.
  3. Avoid direct heat: Schedule strenuous activity and workouts early in the morning or late in the evenings. Add a high water content fruit like citrus fruits as pre workout to maintain enrgy and electrolyte levels.
  4. Sunscreen: Use a dermatological recommended broad spectrum sunscreen when going out in the sun to protect and prevent sun damage, preferably SPF 50+.
  5. Caffeine/alcohol: Limit alcohol and caffeine as these dehydrate you. Choose herbal teas instead to maintain fluid levels.
  6. Dress smart: Wear loose cotton clothes in light colours that absorb sweat and keep you cool. Wear a hat, especially if you have a history of migraines.
  7. Eat right: Eat light and cooling meals. Avoid deep fried and foods high in spice content which can make you sweat more. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks which can dehydrate you further.
  8. Get all your nutrients: Eat seasonal fruits and veggies as they are most nutrient dense. Have plenty of veggies in different colours to get various vitamins and minerals.
  9. Shower, preferably twice a day: Heat boils and fungal infections are common so make sure you are keeping yourself clean. Try and shower immediately after a workout. Incase of rashes or infections consult your doctor at the earliest to nip it in the bud.
  10. Listen to your body: Headaches, dizziness and cramps are signs of illness due to summer heat. Seek cool shelter, rehydrate and consult a doctor if needed.

Haanisii Veera, Consulting Dietitian and Clinical Nutritionist, said, “Stepping out on a hot summer day can be a real challenge. The sweat and heat can easily lead to dehydration and make you feel lethargic.” Here are 10 heatwave hacks to help you cool down in the summer -

1. Start your day with overnight soaked jeera water: Since cumin seeds effectively cure flatulence and bloating it makes the body feel lighter, rejuvenates the body and help to cope up with the hot weather. Drinking cumin water every morning on an empty stomach is healthy as it keeps the body hydrated and is useful in preventing heatstroke.

2. Chew 6 soaked black raisins: Drinking raisin water or chewing 6 soaked raisins on an empty stomach during summer can provide several wonderful benefits. Raisins brighten up your summer mornings and boost your stamina and energy levels. They also help keep up the immunity as they are packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.

3. Include Sabja seeds in your everyday routine: Sabja seeds also knows as sweet basil seeds have a powerful effect on our body. Drinks including sabja seeds provide great relief from the scorching heat of summers. They reduce body heat and have a soothing effect on the stomach thus preventing acidity and other gut issues. These seeds can be part of a variety of drinks like lemonades, coconut water, coconut milk, smoothies, yoghurt etc. Add soaked basil seeds in your everyday drinking water and keep sipping it throughout the day.

4. Include curd rice in lunch: Opt for lighter meals especially during this heatwave so that your digestion doesn’t go for a toss. Inlcuding combination of pre and probiotics can be extra beneficial for your gut. Best example is Eating curd rice for lunch. The combination of cooked and cooled rice with curd improves your digestion. Lactose and probiotics are found in abundance in curd which strengthens your digestive system and thus cools the system.

5. Add vala or khus root in your drinking water: Adding Khus root in your drinking water reduces excessive thirst and dehydration. Khus has cooling properties and helps quench thirst and prevent heat stroke and dehydration. Due to its calming and cooling effect, khus helps reduce inflammation, particularly in the nervous and circulatory systems. It is an effective treatment for inflammation caused by sunstroke, dehydration and loo.

6. Sip on hydrating drinks: Your body needs hydration to function. In addition to water, there are several fast ways to cure dehydration and rebalance your body, such as oral rehydration solutions, coconut water, infused waters, chia seed water, buttermilk, smoothies etc.

7. Gond Katira: Gond is a versatile ingredient packed with nutritional goodness, making it a superhero of summers. Few reasons to include gond in your summer diet; Prevents heat stroke, prevent nosebleeds, relieves constipation, heals mouth ulcers and cools down the gut. Include it in smoothies, sherbets, puddings etc.

8. Gulkand Pani: Gulkand, with its naturally cooling properties, functions as a natural coolant, providing immediate respite from the intense heat. Gulkand is an essential summertime companion because it can help reduce body temperature and relieve heat-related pain when taken with water/milk at bedtime.

9. Include seasonal fruits: Include Seasonal fruits like ice apple aka Tadgola. Watermelon etc comprise about 95% water, are exceptionally hydrating. Adequate hydration is crucial for maintaining bodily functions, including temperature regulation, digestion, and nutrient transportation.

10. Avoid Tea/Coffee: Caffeine and nicotine intake can also increase the body's core temperature. They constrict the blood vessels which warms the blood and makes you feel hot and sweaty. Have cool beverages like coconut water, lemon water and fruit juices. Even excessive intake of alcohol should be avoided.

Including these summer foods into your daily diet will not only keep you cool and hydrated but also provide essential nutrients to support your overall health during the hot season.

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